Pret-a-Reporter

Decked Out: Jess Weixler's Playful, Off-Duty Style

Kyleen James

The actress stars in 'The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby' as Jessica Chastain's sister. Not unlike the sisterly bond they share in the film, the duo happen to be stylish besties in real life, too

If you're a fan of the CBS legal drama The Good Wife, it's likely you recognize Jess Weixler as investigator Robyn Burdine. For us, we couldn't help but notice the blue-eyed beauty at this year's Cannes Film Festival, where she arrived at the Foxcatcher red carpet in a beaded Armani Prive gown with black polka dots and rhinestones. Styling her elegant red-carpet ensemble with droplet earrings and a slick-back braided updo, we practically became obsessed with this girl's dazzling look.

Just as with her playful red-carpet ensemble, Weixler says she likes to have fun with her everyday looks by mixing solid tops "with funky bottom pieces." And as any true fashionista knows, it's good to have a friend to count on for some sartorial advice. For Weixler, that someone happens to be Golden Globe Award winner and bestie Jessica Chastain (the duo attended Juilliard together). "I would be lying if I didn't say she influenced my fashion sense," the actress tells Pret-a-Reporter. "I think she's got a slightly more sophisticated look, while I like the classic look with a bit of edge. I like to think that's the '90s girl in me. (Laughs.)"

After starring in all the same plays during their four years at Juilliard, the two are reunited in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them (out in theaters Friday) with director Ned Benson, whom they both lived with in Santa Monica when starting their acting careers, and actor James McAvoy. We caught up with the 33-year-old actress to chat about being on set with Chastain, her favorite go-to outfits and her engagement to Hamish Brocklebank, co-founder of online educational platform Flooved.

How was reuniting with Jessica for Eleanor  Rigby?

It was incredible because Jessica is my best friend and we were roommates in college. We were the only two people in our class at Juilliard who were always in the same play — because over the course of four years, some plays have four people In them or 10, but somehow we were always put together and opposite each other. We've played sisters several time, and I played her mother in Romeo and Juliet. So to come back around after some time, and to play sisters again — when we already have a sisterly relationship in real life — it seems quite special to have put that into something bigger. The love story is so beautiful — she and James McAvoy are so great.

We hear this year was the first time you walked the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Tell us about that experience.

Oh my gosh, it was like going to three weddings when you do three carpets. It was my first time at Cannes. I've been to Cannes as a friend, with Jessica when she was there for Tree of Life, to support her and see the movie premiere. It was amazing this time to actually be able to do the carpet with her, in a movie with her. For those kinds of things, you have to have a stylist helping you. You cannot pull it together on your own.

Who styled you for the carpet?

Annie Ladino, who is a wonderful friend. I met her through a friend of a friend.

What was going through your mind as you walked the Cannes carpet?

It's like, when I auditioned for school — there's so much attention on you and you have to pretend you're super chill about it or you look like a kid in a candy store. You can easily, I think, overexpress in these situation because there's so much energy. Jessica helped coach me. She's just like, "Just walk and slowly make eye contact with the lenses and act really chill about it." And I was like, "This is a performance. Just act chill about this." (Laughs.)

Loved that Jessica helped prep you for the carpet. Aside from all the glitz and glamour, how do you like to dress on the daily?

I suppose it depends. If I'm just out and about, I have my plethora of solid tank tops like this (points to tank) — this is Armani. If you're going to have the few that you rotate between, it might as well be cute and comfortable. I sort of match that with funky bottom pieces. I am skirts girl. I wear skirts most of the time I would say.

Would you say you've always been a skirt girl?

I think it's transitioned. When I was in high school — I cannot believe I'm going to admit this — I was an overalls girl. Apparently they're coming back though. So, me and the '90s were overalls and a pixie cut. I had boy-short hair. Looking back, I feel good that that was my high school years. Major '90s kid. And then, as I got older, I just started loving skirts with different shapes and funky patterns. You can get really playful with a skirt. You can also go really bright with a skirt, sometimes, if you've got a chill gray top on.

We like the sound of mixing and matching solids and patterns.

I've had to teach myself not make everything look poppy. You get one or two poppies — I was definitely packing on the poppy [pieces]. I layered the patterns and colors to a bit of extreme in my early 20s, for sure.

When did you decide you needed to tone it down?

I think I started looking at people's style who I like more than my own, and I was like, "They look so beautiful." Just cleaning it up and having those few pieces that can feel like art as they stand out against a clean backdrop.

Whose style do you admire?

Cate Blanchett is the most stylish woman alive. I have not met her! But I'll be very calm and try my best not to freak out on her [when I do]. Actually, when I was looking at how to do my hair this morning — I've always loved Faye Dunaway's style. Lauren Hutton — this woman, I remember seeing pictures of her when I was starting a clean, natural look — she's just such a goddess. It's very easy, but there's definitely a sense of style. Also, Carole Lombard is somebody whom I've started looking at over the years — stylistically, but also her personality. She mixes being classy with a playful element and wit. You can tell that girl is smart. She's a little cheeky. (Laughs.)

What designers are you into at the moment?

This jewelry designer I discovered through my friend — lord knows she just talked this person up: Abraxas Rex. His real name is Paris Kain. I mean, you wear anything of his and it's a piece of art. Let me show you. [Takes out iPhone and show us the site, where Beyonce is pictured.] Beyonce loves him, too. The pieces have stones inlaid and metal, as well as fossils.

That's awesome. Do you often ask your friends about the latest in fashion?                                                        

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I happen to have one of the most fashionable friends on the planet right now — Jessica, who is what everything is, so often she'll give me tips. Annie has also got me really interested in some new but established designers like Giulietta — I've been [it] wearing a lot — which has the classic but modern thing going on, Honor and Cynthia Rowley for the red carpet.

Where do you normally like to shop?

Broadway & Broome always has classic pieces. I love going to places like Buffalo Exchange and just finding funky items that people have decided they don't love anymore and that I'm ready to love them. Every now and then I'll do a solid Topshop outing. I've got some really great party dresses [from there]. I have a lot of Coach shoes right now, too. I lived in a pair of Coach boots over the winter in New York. I live by eBay, going online and finding Stella McCartney shoes is a hobby — and I have more Stella McCartney shoes than any other brand.

OK, so we can't stop staring at your engagement ring. It's a beautiful. Mind tell us the story behind the proposal?

I knew it was coming because his family ruined it, which was adorable. So, the ring is [by] Garrard [High], the jeweler, who made Princess Diana's ring, was in the war with Hamish's grandfather. So when Hamish's grandfather got out, he told his fellow man, "I want to propose." He said, "I'll make you a ring for you to propose with," and made this. This is the same shape, design and size detailing as Princess Diana's, but this one came before it! This is his grandma's ring that Garrard made for his grandfather to propose, so I can never ever lose it or his family will disown me. (Laughs.) When he proposed and opened the box, I had a hard time looking at him. I mean I know I'm in love with him, but this was the new information, you know.

His family flew my father to London for Christmas because they wanted me to come for Christmas, but I said, "I have to spend the holidays with my father," and they said, "As a Christmas gift, let us fly your dad to London." My dad had never been out of the country before, because we're from Louisville, Kentucky, so it was a huge deal for him. And because they were so insistent for him to be there, I was like, "Why are they making sure we're all there together?" But then Hamish waited until we were alone to do it because I think he was so frustrated that his family blew the surprise the whole time. Like his father dropped the "Well, you're part of the family now" a little early and his brother passed their baby to me and they were like, "Meet Auntie Jess!" (Laughs.)

 

Ah, we love that! When are you planning to have the wedding?

Probably next spring. It's just a lot of planning. I just co-directed a movie last year with my friend Jennifer Prediger, and somehow, that just zapped my organizational, artistic skill a little. Like all my heart and soul went into pulling that thing together. It's called Trouble Dolls. So I think I just need a little time, and we just need some time to save up for the wedding.

Definitely. Now that you've directed your first film with Trouble Dolls, what's next?

I have a script I've spent three years working on, writing about my dad. He's a huge part of my life, and that one I want to do next, and I thought, "Before I dive into this project, which is really important to me, I want to have fully directed a movie first." And my friend Jennifer also had the same [thought], and we both wanted to dive into something that would be both fun and comedic — something that we didn't have to be as precious about as with dramatic material — so we decided to do a buddy movie.

1. Armani top: "The top I've had for forever."

2. Engagement ring: "The ring is [by] Garrard [High], the jeweler, who made Princess Diana's ring, was in the war with Hamish's grandfather. [...] This is his grandma's ring that Garrard made for his grandfather to propose.

3. Broadway & Broome skirt

4. Coach wedges: "I saw them and it was [an] immediate [buy] because this heel is so playful. I figured they could go with anything simple and make it more funky."

5. MZ Wallace clutch: "That was from a gift from Annie Ladino. She was like, 'This will be fun with anything.' "

 

Jess Weixler was photographed by Kyleen James at True Food Kitchen, Santa Monica.

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